Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Going Dairy Free

After housing a pint of ice cream for dinner last week, I realized very quickly that my daughter has a milk protein allergy. I had thought maybe she was allergic before. But just after her morning, mid-morning and afternoon feed the next day my suspicions were confirmed. The kid turned into Linda Blair.

After 15 weeks of EBF, there was no way that milk was going to derail me. So I've given up dairy. At first I thought this would be really easy. That was, of course, until I opened our refrigerator and saw 20 cups of yogurt, 7 puddings and a dozen assorted cheeses. I guess I didn't realize how much dairy I ate...

I spoke with a few of my mommy friends about giving up dairy and learned about something called "hidden dairy" (here and here). I didn't even know such a thing existed. For three days when I thought I had given up dairy, I apparently had still been eating it (and in relatively large quantities). My sandwich bread had hidden dairy, as did my cold cuts, even freaking PITA CHIPS. I was at the end of my rope. Seriously.

As though life with twins isn't hard enough some days, now I am having to label read like a mad woman. Thankfully, learning a few key dairy words (casein, caseinates) has really helped me find what will and won't work. To circumvent the problem I've decided it would be easier if I cooked the majority of my meals. Then I could control what was going in my food and still ensure I was taking in enough calories to sustain nursing and enough nutrients to sustain myself.

The key with cooking is that the recipes had to be quick - both to shop for and to make. Below is a sample day of food for anyone that is interested. I make my breakfast for the week and my lunch for the week at night while Joe is home, this way he can cover the kids. We switch off who cooks dinner and who is on kid duty. I definitely don't feel like I'm missing out on anything and so far all of the recipes have been great.

Breakfast (before giving up milk, my breakfast was two packets of Quaker Weight Control Oatmeal - has hidden dairy - and a cup of coffee with half and half)

  • Coffee with almond milk and agave syrup.
  • Oatmeal (either steel cut or traditional oats), prepared with water. After it is cooked I portion it out and top each portion with 1/4 cup of almond milk, 1/4 cup of almonds and 1 tablespoon of organic honey. 
Lunch (before giving up milk, my lunch was a Dole salad kit. Most of the dressings and/or ingredients contain dairy)

This took about 15 minutes total - prep time, cooking time and cleaning up. And I ended up with four lunches from one recipe/cooking adventure.

Dinner (before giving up dairy this could have been anything from tuna sandwiches to pizza to roasted salmon with brussel sprouts)

We made this with a side of quinoa cooked in Organic Mushroom Broth. Dinner was on the table in 15 minutes. We had three pots to clean, plus our dinner dishes. So clean up took about ten minutes. I cut the recipe in half to just feed two. But this could have easily been kept for a second night/leftover dinner if the full recipe was made.

Snacks (before giving up dairy were fiber one bars, yogurt, pita chips with hummus, string cheese and crackers...)
  • sliced vegetables (roasted red pepper, yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, etc.) with hummus
  • fruit (peaches in cling = guilty pleasure, apples, bananas, pears, etc.)
  • nature valley granola bars
If anyone would like more information feel free to email me or leave a comment. I'm happy to help. I'll try to update my spark page with each week's food for anyone going through similar issues. Any not obvious foods (i.e. hummus, red peppers) are recipes that come from Cooking Light and can be found here.

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